Sunday, August 28, 2016

Farewell to the Barbershop?

An article here at Jstor on the changing culture for men's hair:

The last two paragraphs:

They’re not signs of a disintegrating bygone culture of manhood. Rather, they signify a transformation of white, well-to-do masculinity. In the past, the barbershop was a place for these men. Today, while the old model may thrive in black or up-and-coming neighborhoods, white professional men are seeking a pampered experience elsewhere.
And they’re creating intimate relationships in these new men’s salons. But instead of immersing themselves in single-sex communities of men, they’re often building one-on-one confidential relationships with women hair stylists. Stylists often explained this intimacy as part of their jobs. For white men with financial means, though, the men’s salon becomes an important place where they can purchase the sense of connection they may otherwise be missing in their lives.
For a while in my younger years I cut my own hair, but then I migrated back to a barbershop, finding a shop which was reminiscent of my boyhood shop in Greene, NY: patrons and barbers who knew each other and would talk about things like hunting and cars.  My Herndon shop was bigger, not a two-man operation, and it had trophy heads and military memorabilia on the walls. Still it seemed the patrons and barbers mostly knew each other, or at least made small talk (not my forte). Over the years it's downsized and become less of a conversation center.

I don't know what's happened to barbershops in small towns in rural areas--probably closed if the area has lost population. 

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